Paper Shortage: Availability, Pricing Levels, Delivery Times Remain Concerns for the Printing Industry
When the COVID-19 pandemic first swept through the world in spring of 2020, no one could have anticipated that it would linger for this long. Or that it would spawn a host of challenges commercial printers continue to struggle with daily. Chief among those challenges? The ongoing struggles to obtain enough paper to actually run jobs.
Dean Hart, president of MWI Direct in Lincoln, Neb., notes that in his 30 years of buying paper as a printer, he has seen some tight markets — but never anything like this. Paper, he says, is “historically a stable product, it doesn’t change rapidly in pricing. But this year has seen significant increases just as a function of the demand; it spiked so high, and has continued to be more and more difficult as time has gone on.” In real terms, Hart notes, that when he’s lucky enough to secure a shipment, delivery times are up to 90 to 120 days, and the prices have gone up 30-40% just this year alone.
In this article, we’re sharing how the global supply chain disruption has affected various printers, how the allocation system has stifled expansion plans, and more. For those printers struggling to just find enough paper to meet deadlines and fulfill customer jobs, we’re also highlighting six buying tips during this paper shortage.